Actions

Work Header

This Rough Cut Design

Work Text:

Jenny has been travelling the universe for two years, and in that time she has come to the conclusion that more or less everything is absolutely brilliant.

There are of course some exceptions -- bad people who want to hurt others, people she can't save -- but she has learned that there is so much more to life than war. She has seen galaxies improbably far away from home, saved lives, danced, loved, laughed, and done an awful lot of running.

*

In the outer reaches of the Val Isis system there is a moon that has the most complete Gallifreyan archive anywhere in the universe, save the last Time Lord and the last TARDIS themselves. Jenny spends a month there, learning everything she can about that ancient planet and all its long-dead people. She knows she's not quite a Time Lord herself, but she's not quite human either, and it's a secret she keeps safe in both of her hearts.

She reads all she can on human history too, beyond the things they programmed into her on Messaline. She learns that the heritage from her ancestors is one of both great discovery and great bloodshed, and it saddens her to see the way the two so often go hand in hand.

She can be better, she decides. More like her Gallifreyan father, a man who wouldn't kill, and more like his human friends, Donna and Martha, women who were brave and intelligent and kind. She is very young and she knows she has a lot to learn, but it's a good place to start.

*

She runs into Martha again as she's helping out an evacuation when a long-dormant volcano starts rumbling in the heavily populated eastern continent of Grethtek Four. She's helping someone into one of the rescue shuttles when Martha appears, half a dozen children hanging off her or skipping beside her. There's a man beside her who's similarly kitted out with a gaggle of kids.

"Martha!" Jenny calls out, delighted.

Martha's jaw drops. "Jenny! Oh my god, you're alive!"

"Surprise!"

"Aren't you just?" Martha beams, and buckles the kids into their seats before bouncing over to hug her. "How on earth did you survive, we thought you were dead!"

"I know!" Jenny grins, because it's still amazing to her. "Turns out I don't have enough Time Lord to properly regenerate, but I do have enough to heal myself from silly things like bullets."

Martha gapes a bit. "Wow. Well, that's brilliant. How are you? Running around and saving the universe? Your dad would be proud."

"I hope so. So who's your friend?" Jenny asks, as the man with Martha walks up to them, looking at Jenny curiously.

"Jenny, this is Mickey. Oh, Mickey, you are not going to believe who her dad is."

"Oh, you know the Doctor too?" Jenny asks brightly.

Mickey's jaw drops.

*

After a really very unfortunate series of misunderstandings involving a pineapple and the Crown Princess of Maylain, Jenny finds herself sentenced to a swordfight with the city's master swordswoman to defend her honour.

"I'll go easy on you," the swordswoman promises. "If you can hold your own for a minute or two they'll probably let you go."

"Thanks, but that's all right," Jenny says. "I was born in the heat of battle with a gun in my hand, and I have advanced training in a dozen kinds of hand-to-hand combat. I know how to use a sword."

The swordswoman tilts her head. "A challenge? Interesting. Let's see what you've got, then."

Jenny has the swordswoman disarmed in a minute and a half.

"Oh," Jenny pouts, "I was only just getting started."

The swordswoman gets up, catching her breath and looking stunned. "No one has done that to me since I was a child. Who are you?"

"I don't really know yet."

She shakes the woman's hand and goes back to her ship. No one tries to stop her.

*

She gets injured in Paris, Earth in 1674 when an undercover Sontaran sneaks up on her, dealing a hefty blow to her torso. Although she manages to shoot him right back, enough to scare him off, to her great dismay she passes out from the pain and blood loss.

When she comes to again she's been moved, and she finds herself in an invalid room, with a warm breeze coming in through the window and clean bandages wrapped around the injury on her side.

She coughs, wincing a little because the sudden movement hurts, and a woman walks over to her. She has a mass of curly hair, clever eyes, and a kind smile.

"Hello," Jenny says. "Where am I?"

"Still in Paris," the woman tells her. "I was right around the corner from you when you got shot - had my sights on that Sontaran too but you were too quick for me." She smiles. "You're very good. I've patched you up but you seem to be healing up pretty nicely all by yourself. My name's River, what's yours?"

"Jenny. Thanks for pulling me out of there."

"You're welcome." River picks up a gadget beside her. "Now, I know this is very nosy of me, but I took the liberty of doing a couple of scans to check you were okay, and your biology is fascinating. Am I right in thinking human?"

Jenny nods. "Human ... mostly."

"Ah, that's what I thought." River leans in. "It looks to me like you and I have rather a lot in common. You see, I'm mostly human too."

*

It takes Jenny a few days before she's back to full strength again. She's terrible at bed rest, always itching to be up and running again, but River makes her recovery pass much faster. She's older than she looks and has hundreds of wonderful stories to tell, reading them to Jenny out of an old blue book. Before she met River, Jenny had felt knowledgeable and well travelled, but now she realises she has barely begun to explore the universe. It's a fantastic feeling.

Some of River's stories have the Doctor in them, and Jenny smiles to hear more about him.

River pauses after a while and considers Jenny. "I suppose that in all of this, you are something like my stepdaughter." She laughs. "I wonder how many other stepchildren are out there that I may have married into. He never does tell me these things."

"I'm not sure I count," says Jenny, considering. "It was all a bit of an accident, really - a genetic anomaly, that's what he called me."

"Did he now?" River looks annoyed by that. "Well, that's very rude - nothing wrong with having unique genetic makeup. You know, I doubt you're in need of a stepmother, but if you'd like a friend, I'd be delighted." She picks up her book and tears out a slip, writing her number on it. "You can call this number from any comms device anywhere, it'll go straight through to me. You just shout if you ever need anything."

"Thanks!" Jenny says, beaming, and commits the sixteen digits to memory.

*

When Jenny thinks she's just about ready to get out of here, River brings her breakfast in the morning with a knowing smile. "There's a visitor her to see you," she says, stepping away from the doorway to reveal the Doctor standing in the shadows.

Jenny sits upright and stares at him, overjoyed to see him. He's regenerated since she last saw him, and though his body looks younger she can see he's a lot older. She wonders how much time has passed for him.

The Doctor waves his hands and rushes over to her, leaning over her bed and scooping her up in a hug. She wraps her arms around his neck and beams at River over his shoulder.

"You're welcome," River says.

"Jenny," the Doctor says in wonder, pulling back to cup her face in his hands. "What happened to you, where have you been? You'll have to tell me everything."

River pulls up a couple of chairs and gives them each a cup of tea. The Doctor looks between her and Jenny and fidgets. "So, er, you two have -- met, then?"

"Yes, Doctor, we've already caught up," River says, with fond exasperation that sounds very well-practised to Jenny's ears. "Jenny doesn't seem in particular need of mothering to me, so I think we've decided on friends."

"Friends," Jenny repeats. "Friends are good."

"Start from the beginning then," the Doctor says, leaning in with curiosity. "What happened to you after we left?'

Jenny wraps her hands around her cup and starts to tell her story, and as she speaks the Doctor's face is proud and amazed.

*

Jenny crouches behind a wall, leaning back for a moment to catch her breath. She's surrounded on all sides, and though she's got a plan, she really could use a little backup. She digs her comms unit out of her back pocket and taps in River's number.

River materialises beside her seconds after Jenny finishes her message.

"Nice trick," Jenny says with a grin.

"Thanks!" River quickly peeks over the wall to get the lay of the land. "So, what's the situation?"

"Bit pinned down here," Jenny admits. "Snipers stationed at the corners and twenty soldiers on the ground."

River nods. "If you can neutralise the snipers, I've got a couple of explosives with me - not enough to do much damage, but enough to give us some smoke cover to get the hell out of here."

"Perfect. My ship's half a mile east of here, though she's been knocked around a bit."

"No problem, I'm sure I can get her back up and running."

"All right then," Jenny says, reloading her gun. "Let's do this."

"Fancy getting a drink afterwards?" River says, casual like they're about to go into a meeting.

"Sure, why not?"

"Well then," River says, programming a grenade, "last one back to the ship buys the first round."